Special Needs Ability  Program, Inc. (SNAP)

2014 In Review

Dear Friends, Families, and SNAP Supporters,

It is with pleasure that I give you an overview of our 2014 year now that we are beginning a new and exciting new year.  I like to call this the good, bad, and exciting future of Special Needs Ability Program, Inc.

2014 FINANCIAL REVIEW

INCOME:  1/01 to 12/31/2014

Monetary Donations

11,500.00

Business Sponsorships

2,250.00

Monthly Sponsors

1,560.00

Fundraisers

8,359.00

23,669.00

GENERAL EXPENSE:

Rent

4,800.00

Corporation Fees

150.00

Internet

780.00

Copier Repair

368.00

Postage

346.00

Supplies: Toner, Ink, Paper, Banners, etc.

704.00

Website & Email

923.00

Telephone, Corp. & Chapters

3,840.00

Bank Charges & Credit Card Fees

621.00

Printing, T-Shirts, Bracelets, Etc

3,342.00

Accounting, Legal, and Background Checks

6,100.00

Insurance: General

1,807.00

Insurance: Liability; Lawn Care in a SNAP

1,118.00

Insurance: Auto & Trailer; Lawn Care in a SNAP

1,272.00

Vehicle & Trailer Registration Fees

723.00

PROGRAM EXPENSE:

 

Workability

1,096.00

Social Events

625.00

Advocacy

425.00

Parent Group

213.00

29,253.00

LOSS

[5,584.00]

Founders Contribution:

5,584.00

DONATED CAPITAL ASSETS:

2003 Dodge Caravan

Workability Trailer

Color Copier

First the good.

  1. We served 2,312 Special Needs families in 2014 nationwide.  We provided assistance with I.E.P.’s, resource assistance, and provided two families with advocates to assist them with due process issues at no charge.
  2. We assisted three families in their personal fundraising efforts to raise funds for a service dog, purchase an iPad, and replace a wheelchair for a child growing out of their current one.  In fact, we were able to get a used “like new” wheelchair donated to the family.
  3. We along with assistance from our friends and Diamond Wishes provided six remarkable Special Needs young adults and their family’s passage on our 2014 Workability Cruise.   The cruise disembarked from Bayonne, NJ to Bermuda where the six participants performed actual job task on the cruise ship.  The cruise was a huge success.
  4. We developed a Workability Program known as “Lawn Care in SNAP” which pairs young Special Needs adults with retired Veterans as our Job Coaches to provide lawn care to residential homes in Central Florida.   The program has been a huge success.  Not only has it provided an activity for our young adults to look forward too but 100% of the proceeds are divided equally amongst the participants.  It also has served as an educational instrument in showing the community our kids have the ability and desire to be productive despite their disabilities.
  5. We had a 2003 Dodge Caravan donated to us by a SNAP supporter who asked to remain anonymous in November to use for our Workability Program.
  6. We had a 5X8 trailer donated by a SNAP Supporter that we paid to modify to hold our lawn equipment for our Lawn Care In a SNAP program.  
  7. We started a very successful Parent Information & Support Group in DeLand, Florida and will be starting our second and third groups in Orange City & Orland, Florida in 2015. 
  8. We hosted numerous Social Events for our special needs communities, Parent Support & Information Groups, Special Events, and worked with the Boy Scouts of America to develop a design for special needs troops.
  9. We had 14 new Business Sponsor’s join our mission in 2014.
  10. We had several fundraisers within our Chapters which allowed us to provide all our services and social programs to our participants at no cost.
  11.  We are continuing to develop an “Anti-Bullying” program we hope to offer school districts at no cost.
  12. We conducted our first online national Raffle with the support of our friends and Business Sponsor, DeLand Nissan.
  13. We provided two families in dire need with a complete Thanksgiving dinner and groceries to last them for several weeks.
  14. We had wonderful kind hearted friend of one of our volunteers donate a freezer to our program since we spent time and gas running all over town getting volunteers to make room for turkeys and frozen foods purchased for our two families at Thanksgiving.
  15. Our Central Florida special needs kids collected 42 blankets, and over 100 coats, jackets, and sweaters to donate to two area homeless shelters.
  16. We were blessed by having a color copier donated to us in 2014 which significantly reduced our printing cost.       
  17. Being selected and receiving Choice Hotels Community Hero Award for 2014 was a huge honor.  It prompted me to pay the honor forward.  Every year we are going to bestow our version of this award to an individual or organization for their outstanding efforts in the Special Needs Community.  Our board unanimously selected Diamond Wishes for our 2014 recipient of SNAP’s Superlative Award.  Diamond Wishes will receive their award next month.  We will have an expose on our website of the many contributions they made to Special Needs Children Globally in 2014.

Despite all our accomplishments this year we had our share of setbacks as well. 

1.       We submitted two grants in 2014 in which both were rejected.  In our letter of rejections, we were invited to reapply in 2015, which we will.  It is our understanding organizations with less than 5 years of operation are likely not to receive grant funding with so many well established organization’s seeking same grant funds. 

2.       Early in 2014, we administered the grant between Diamond Wishes and Autism on the Seas group cruises.  Because of our lack of sufficient volunteer staff to effectively handle the sheer volume of families requesting assistance under the grant program and creative differences between our three organizations.  I felt it was in the best interest of the families being served by the grant program to discontinue our involvement.  It is my understanding the grant program is doing very well and of course; we wish both organizations nothing but the best in their future endeavors.

3.       Our goal of obtaining 25 new business sponsors and 50 monthly family sponsors fell far short of our goal in 2014.  We were successful in recruiting 14 new business sponsors but unfortunately we lost more monthly pledged sponsors than we gained.  We initially thought we would have enough families to pledge their support monthly to cover our overhead leaving our fundraising funds to be used strictly on our programs for our kids which has not happened.  However, through sheer determination and the dedication of our volunteers we still were able to keep our services free of charge in 2014, however limited. 

4.       Sadly, we lost the battle to raise the funds needed for the final two payments of our general liability insurance which cost us $3,500.00 per year in September.  We just could not come up with the last two payments therefore our insurance was cancelled.  The only chapter of SNAP at the time that required our insurance was our Suffolk County New York SNAP Chapter.  Unfortunately, we were left with no option but to cancel our remaining respite’s, social events, and our Parent Support and Information Group held in the building we shared with the Selden/Centereach Youth Association.

In November our Board met to discuss the future of SNAP and the measures needed to move SNAP forward in 2015.  It is with a VERY heavy heart that I officially announce that SNAP will not be moving forward with opening any new chapters in 2015 or continuing our current chapters in New York, Georgia, Texas, or California.  I had a heartfelt and often emotional discussion with all our Chapter Directors and we all mutually decided to end our divisions of SNAP at this time.  The decision was not only based the cost of doing business in each chapter but the lack of volunteers to assist in our programs in many of the chapters.  Our Chapter Directors who unselfishly dedicated their time brining SNAP to their communities struggled to get the volunteers needed to host events.  The added financial burden to SNAP having to pay for the background checks of all volunteers working with our kids was substantial in 2014 considering that we had many volunteers go through the screening process that never actually worked a function or program after agreeing to do so.  I cannot thank our hard working Director’s, Associate Director’s, and dedicated volunteers who devoted their time and efforts to making a difference and will continue to make a difference in their Special Needs community.

Our goal this year is to develop ways to become financially stable and when we accomplish this goal we will definitely revisit opening chapters once again in the future.    

Now let’s look to the future of SNAP nationally.

1.       SNAP will continue to support Special Needs Families, Educators, and Employers to the best of our ability nationwide in 2015.  Including assisting families with their Child/Children’s I.E.P. issues.  We will continue to provide advocates in cases our board deems appropriate at no cost to the parent/guardian.

2.       SNAP will continue to work with any non-profit or charitable organization needing our assistance that will benefit Special Needs families.

3.       SNAP will continue to assist families to find appropriate resources in their community.

4.       SNAP is working on developing a number of professionally produced educational video’s that will be available to educators and parents alike via our website.

SNAP in 2015 & Beyond.

1.       SNAP will be limiting our actual programing for Special Needs individuals and their families to the state of Florida.  This decision allows me the opportunity to assist our volunteers with events, fundraisers, and allows me to travel to assist in developing Parent Information & Support Groups and conduct various Workshops throughout the state.

2.       We will continue our drive to get Sponsors to help cover the cost of our monthly overhead and keep our programs free of charge to the communities we serve and hopefully growing to meet the needs of our families.

3.       One of our goals this year is to open our first facility in Central Florida that will serve a multitude of purposes.  House our headquarters, provide a recreational area for our kids, and have a fully operational kitchen for a new program we want to launch in 2015 our “Life Skills” classes.  This program will teach basic cooking skills, shopping and budgeting, clothes laundering, paying bills, and hygiene to our young adults.  We have had an offer to combine SNAP with another Non-profit to develop more programs for Special Needs Families nationally.  We are considering all opportunities this year to make our visions realities.

SNAP is committed to focusing more on education in 2015.  Our desire is to host, conduct, and sponsor more workshops open to all who are interested at no cost.  These Workshops would include professionals in the area of Special Needs lending their expertise on Special Needs Trust, Behavior Modification Techniques, Health & Wellness, Dietary Issues, Sibling Issues, Understanding I.E.P.’s, Puberty, Employers employing Special Needs individuals, Anti-Bullying in the school system, Daycare & Pre-School Training, etc.  As I mentioned above, our dream is to develop a complete video library of all Workshops that will be offered online for all to view nationally.

5.       Our Workability Programs have been very successful in 2014 and we hope to grow opportunities for our young adults in Lawn Care and other area’s in 2015.

SNAP runs entirely on the efforts of our volunteers, including our Board of Director’s and myself.  Even though we have no payroll we are still a business.  Non-profits are not excluded from the cost of doing business which is the perception some have.  We have to raise funds to purchase the supplies we need to operate our programs, gas for lawn mowers for the Workability Program, T-shirts for our kids and staff, vehicle expenses, rent, utilities, telephone, both auto and liability insurance, fundraising supplies, paper, pens, and postage to name a few of our expenses as listed above.  We’ve been so blessed having our volunteers open their wallets, as well as; their hearts at times to make sure not one child is disappointed. My personal goal in 2015 is to have the supplies we need so our volunteers give of their time to support SNAP programs, not their money.  In November, I went back to work full-time to ease my personal finances including continuing to support SNAP’s monthly deficit and keep SNAP moving forward.  I was only able to do this with the support of my family, Misty McDonald my Administrative Assistant, Cindy Eggleston who continues to support SNAP from Atlanta Georgia, and Bambi Van Woert in Lansing Michigan who has been there for me from the inception of SNAP. 

As previously stated, our Board is continuing to look into opportunities that will generate income to support SNAP other than relying solely on sponsors and donations to keep our programs going and growing.  We are currently looking into several business ventures that may accomplish this for us.  I would certainly welcome any ideas or opportunities you may have.  You can share your thoughts with me via email at: jgrover@specialneedsabilityprogram.org  

I personally want to thank our entire volunteer staff that dedicated their time and efforts in making a difference in the life of Special Needs individuals last year.  We’ve had our volunteers, including our amazing Director’s and Associates Director’s take time away from their own family’s to educate their communities on the “abilities” our amazing kids have and will continue to make a difference in the lives of kids in their communities in the future.  SNAP will support their efforts in any way possible as always. 

I especially want to thank the one person on earth who has sacrificed more than any other to see SNAP continue to grow, my son Dennis.  Dennis who is special needs himself has given up so much, including time with his workaholic father understanding the mission behind SNAP is to help better the lives of all kids like him.  I’ve always said Dennis is the greatest gift ever given to me and I awake everyday knowing how blessed I am to have such an amazing kid that would and has done without himself for others.

Closing thought.

 I hope that wherever you are in this great country of ours you will take note of a Special Needs individual when your paths cross and share a smile or a quick hello.  We are committed to making a positive impact for our Special Needs Individuals which includes your community.  We hope what we are doing with SNAP will eventually benefit all Special Needs individuals and families in some manner nationally and set a precedence for other groups, individuals, and organizations to develop suitable programs for their communities.  It takes a village my friends to make a difference.  I’ve learned the hard way this year, one person or organization, cannot be all things to everyone despite the desire to help all those in need.

Even if our programs do not directly affect your family at this time why not pledge your support to help others?  You can make a difference by pledging as little as $10.00 a month to help others.  Please consider lending your support by visiting our website and becoming a monthly sponsor or making a onetime donation in any amount.  It takes a few minutes of your time to make a difference in ensuring our success in reaching our goals this year.  We waste much more than $10.00 every month on coffees, soda, fast food, and trips to the convenient store.  I think any Special Needs individuals, regardless of where they call home is worth a whole lot more than a simple $10.00 a month investment, I hope you will agree.

May you all have a blessed year.

Jamie Grover,

Founder/Executive Director

Special Needs Ability Program, Inc.

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